(Unsplash)

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

A woman must pay back $105,000 after stealing $260,000 from an elderly Coquitlam couple, a B.C. provincial court judged ruled Thursday.

Antonette Dizon, now 50, told the court “she was tight on money” and wanted to “provide a good life for her children” when she stole $260,000 over 15 months from a couple she had been hired to care for.

An agency hired Dizon to provide extra care to Henry and Helen Abfalter, both 86 at the time, in September 2014 at their retirement home.

Dizon helped the couple with daily activities, court documents said, and “developed a close relationship with both of them.”

She assisted the Abfalters with their banking and learned the PIN from the husband’s debit card.

Just one month after the husband was hospitalized in December 2014, Dizon took his debit card from his wallet and on Jan. 14, 2015, she began taking money from the Abfalters’ chequing and saving accounts.

Court documents say she made frequent withdrawals, sometimes daily, and usually took the maximum limit of $1,000.

She continued to care for the couple until September 2015, when the husband died and Dizon went to work full time for a cleaning business.

However, she remained close to the Abfalter family, with her daughter singing at the husband’s funeral and visiting the widow for Christmas and Mother’s Day.

Dizon also continued to steal money from the Abfalters.

Helen Abfalter’s daughter found out about the theft in April 2016, after the bank told her the balance in the account was $200,000, down significantly from the $490,000 just over a year prior.

The daughter was told withdrawals had been made at ATMs all throughout the Lower Mainland

The theft was reported to the police who began surveilling the bank branches where the debit card was being used.

Dizon made her last withdrawal in April 2016 when the ATM did not return the debit card.

After police arrested her, Dizon admitted to stealing the $260,000.

She said she had taken the money to “provide her children with a good life.” Police learned Dizon had bought a new car for her daughter, a piano, a floor polisher for her cleaning business, a bedroom furniture set for her daughter, tuition for her daughter, a trip to Disneyland and the cleaning business that she now owns.

Dizon had also used the money to pay for rent and food, paid off her Visa debt and sent some funds to family members in the Philippines.

At the time of her arrest, she had almost no money remaining.

In an victim impact statement, Helen Abfalter’s daughter said Dizon’s crime had overshadowed the last few months of her mother’s life. Abfalter passed away nine month’s after Dizon’s arrest.

When Helen had first learned of the crime, she initially refused to believe Dizon was responsible, calling her former caretaker “the kindest person.”

“She could not understand how to reconcile what Ms. Dizon projected – a good mother, church going and conscientious – with someone who could do something so dishonest and cruel,” the court documents said.

The Abfalters managed to recoup some of the money by seizing assets and through settlements with the bank and hiring agency that had brought in Dizon. She must pay back the remaining $105,000.

After pleading guilty, Dizon was sentenced to 12 months in custody and a probationary period of 18 months. During her probation, she may not possess identification or credit or debit cards except those belonging to family, not work or volunteer with the elderly and not have any contact with Helen Abfalter immediate family.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jaeden Izik-Dzurko from Salmon Arm is featured on Virtually VRS, the Vancouver Recital Society’s online concert series. (Vancouver Recital Society image)
Salmon Arm pianist featured in Vancouver society’s first online concert series

Salmon Arm Secondary alumni Jaeden Izik-Dzurko continues to amaze

City council hears what a success Salmon Arm’s first Pride Project Arts & Awareness Festival on Oct. 14 to 18, 2020 was. (Caytlin Mary Photography photo)
First Salmon Arm Pride Festival evokes gratitude, emotion from city council

Presenters describe how festival celebrating LGBTQ2S+ community changed lives

Salmon Arm mayor Alan Harrison receives the ceremonial first poppy from Harry Welton of the Salmon Arm Legion on Wednesday, Oct. 28. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm mayor Alan Harrison receives the ceremonial first poppy from Harry Welton of the Salmon Arm Legion on Wednesday, Oct. 28. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm residents encouraged to observe Remembrance Day, but not at cenotaph

Pandemic restrictions necessitate small gathering at cenotaph on November 11

Four staff members at the Okanagan Men’s Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 23, 2020. (Adult and Teen Challenge OMC photo)
Four positive COVID-19 cases at Okanagan Men’s Centre

Those affected are staff and have been in isolation since Oct. 23

A radon test kit. (File Photo)
Free radon testing kits available in Sicamous

Kits will help detect the carcinogenic gas found in some homes

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Superintendent of the Kelowna RCMP, Kara Triance. (Capital News file)
Non-violent crime, small population contributes to Kelowna’s crime rate spike, says RCMP

Kelowna RCMP is assuring the public the city is a safe place

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Crime up 31 per cent in Vernon in 2019: Statistics Canada

Increase includes a 45 per cent rise in violent Criminal Code violations

A Tuesday Oct. 27, 2020 apartment fire in Penticton killed two and displaced dozens more. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Fatal Penticton apartment fire deemed accidental

The blaze gutted an apartment building on Tuesday morning, killing two people and displacing dozens

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Animal care manager Tracy Reynolds confirmed the lynx is the same wildcat that was spotted wandering North Kamloops in broad daylight on Sunday, Oct. 25. BC Wildlife Park.
Lynx found wandering Kamloops taken to BC Wildlife Park

While the lynx’s outward appearance was deemed normal, it actually had an abdominal infection

Most Read